Before-and-After Kitchen Makeovers
Renovation ideas you’ll love.A well-used and loved kitchen deserves our endless songs of praise. They are the center of our bustling households, and the setting for countless meals, crafts, projects, conversations, drinks, and happy memories. The goal: make them as stylish as they are functional. A well-designed kitchen is absolutely imperative, but the thought of a full-fledged kitchen remodel can seem overwhelming. We’ve collected our favorite kitchen remodel ideas, design tips, and professional secrets to help get you back into your kitchen and cooking in no time. Real-life homeowners share their budget-friendly kitchen cabinet updates, home decor experts share their creative design ideas, and architects share easy ways to make a small space seem larger without adding a single square foot. These kitchen renovation plans are practical, unique, and functional.
An Entertainer's Space: Before
When Nadie NeJame, a real estate agent in Washington, D.C., decided to update the one in her 1914 Foursquare Colonial, she knew exactly how to express her wishes to her interior designer, Christopher Patrick. “What I craved was something classic—nothing super trendy that would go out of style in 10 years. And I wanted white. If you can see the dirt, you know it’s time to clean it!”
An Entertainer's Space: After
A new island doubles as a buffet, and the statement paint coat on the base cabinets and walnut top make it the focal point of the room. Inspired by history, NeJame selected handmade glazed subway tile, marble countertops, and more traditional cabinet doors—Shaker style with bead detailing.
Right Size Remodel: Before
Previously, the kitchen lacked functionality. It’s a jutting island and awkwardly placed refrigerator simply made no sense.
Right Size Remodel: After
These homeowners reconfigured the kitchen, abandoning upper cabinets, lightening walls and floors with paint, and designing a refrigerator to mimic rich wood furniture. They also straightened out the island, creating a more functional space. A Viking range in a custom shade of blue—and surrounding lower cabinets in the same hue—added a bold pop of color, and takes this white kitchen from average to extraordinary.
The Modern Family Kitchen: Before
Lynn and Bobby Boland felt confined in their Missouri kitchen. They wanted a complete overhaul, but couldn’t add even an inch of square footage. Designer Amie Corley took on the challenge.
The Modern Family Kitchen: After
Corely knocked down a wall of awkward cabinetry to unite the kitchen, dining room, and living room to form one large, free-flowing area. She lifted the ceiling up to the roofline to let in more natural light, laid fresh flooring, and used bright paint colors to put a modern twist on the functional kitchen.
Family-Friendly Breakfast Area: Before
Before the renovation, this quaint breakfast room was actually the family’s den.
Family-Friendly Breakfast Area: After
Crisp white paint updated and refreshed the fireplace and bookshelves, and the dated mantel was replaced with a modern mirror. The blank canvas was opened with a graphic chevron rug and Roman shades made from an oversized, blue-and-white floral print.
Summer Rancher Kitchen: Before
Dated, dreary cabinets and a clunky, bulky refrigerator meant this space was in dire need of a redo.
Summer Rancher Kitchen: After
To avoid moving the entire room’s plumbing, this homeowner kept the kitchen's original footprint. Instead, he splurged on updating the cabinetry, appliances, and fixtures. Replace dated cabinets with easy-to-access open shelving and Shaker-style lower cabinets. Instead of a bulky refrigerator, he installed a two-drawer version in the wet bar area, just across from the kitchen, placing prominence on cocktails rather than dessert.
Sunny Breakfast Nook: Before
Before, the breakfast nook had plenty of light, but it lacked the warmth and comfort you’d want while enjoying a cozy cup of coffee.
Sunny Breakfast Nook: After
Suzanne transformed the nook into a cozy area with sturdy built-in benches that mimic the kitchen cabinetry and also add extra storage. To personalize the space, she placed slipcovered armchairs on one side of the metal bistro table, and draped colorful decor above the benches on the other.
Lake House Kitchen: Before
The tucked-away kitchen was too dark and outdated for Southern Living prop stylist, Heather Chadduck, but had good bones.
Lake House Kitchen: After
Heather brightened the space with a backsplash made of marble subway tiles, and installed a grid of dimmable light fixtures, creating versatile lighting for any occasion. To emphasize the gray tones in the floor, she chose durable, hand-poured, concrete countertops.
A Fresh Take on Tradition: Before
When Caroline and Andy Roeser purchased their Houston home, they had a vision. Their windowless galley kitchen’s cold dreariness did not fit their vision, so the couple wasted no time renovating it to become a sunny, open space.
A Fresh Take on Tradition: After
The Roesers made the transformation by creating a functional layout, adding windows for natural light, choosing timeless materials, and adding pops of color. Two large-scale lanterns in a verdigris finish add traditional polish while still freshening up the space.
Historic Single House Kitchen: Before
The original kitchen in this historic Charleston home looked dark and dreary, and didn’t fit the home’s fresh decor.
Historic Single House Kitchen: After
The owners wanted their existing kitchen to look like it had been added onto the home in the 1920s. They chose shiplap walls, eliminated the upper cabinets, installed mahogany countertops, and unlacquered brass cabinet hardware and sink fixtures. They ripped up the 1950s floor and laid a new pine floor on the diagonal, sealed and primed it, then applied two coats of high-gloss gray paint.
Neutral Update Breakfast Room: Before
This nook needed a complete overhaul, including completely getting rid of the dark furniture and bulky chandelier.
Neutral Update Breakfast Room: After
Creating a sunny nook from this dim room meant completely starting over. Birmingham interior designer, Lindsey Meadows, chose a glossy table that reflects light, and added a contemporary candelabrum. She surrounded the table with rustic chairs and an upholstered bench in shades of white with varying textures.
Bold Redo: Before
Here, the white kitchen just didn't suit to the homeowners' love of bright and bold color.
Bold Redo: After
The homeowners replaced their lower cabinets and gave the uppers new life with glass doors and brass hardware. They drenched the space in a deep, dark green with a glossy, durable finish. A collection of white dishes, an impressive La Cornue range, and a white subway-tile backsplash bring neutral balance.
Neutral Update: Before
The kitchen layout fit the family’s needs, but the color and accessories desperately needed an update.
Neutral Update: After
Keeping the existing cabinetry, interior designer Lindsey Meadows looked to give this cook space a fresh feel by changing the details. Soft gray paint coats the cabinets, making the kitchen’s palette match with the rest of the house’s. Lindsey replaced the stainless steel backsplash with darkly-grouted subway tile, and gave the existing barstools a face-lift with simple slipcovers made of durable fabric.
Crisp and Clean Remodel: Before
Fussy cabinetry and a hanging pot rack cluttered the space.
Crisp and Clean Remodel: After
A burst of citrus a surefire way to add energy. Just ask designer Melissa Haynes, who redesigned this kitchen for a pair of doctors with a busy, on-call lifestyle. After living in the Fayetteville, Arkansas, house for about a year, the couple was ready to lighten and modernize their Country French kitchen, but they needed help. Melissa found a way to simplify and open the crowded yet well-built kitchen without doing a complete gut job.
Lightened-Up Kitchen: Before
This older home’s classic charm was lost in a kitchen hidden by dark walls and corners that didn’t let light flow.
Lightened-Up Kitchen: After
Designer Suzanne Kasler painted everything a serene white, and replaced the cabinetry. With Design Galleria’s Matthew Quinn, she conceptualized the floor-to-ceiling cabinets and a handsome island. Glass door fronts lighten the main wall. To add texture to her monochromatic color scheme, she installed white marble countertops, a white tile backsplash, and neutral barstools.
Family-Friendly Kitchen: Before
When Susan and Jeff Johnson purchased their four-bedroom cottage in Nashville, Tennessee, they wanted to make it contemporary but still livable for their growing family. They teamed with designer Gen Sohr to create a stylish look with family-friendly functionality.
Family-Friendly Kitchen: After
By removing the wall with a pass-through window, Susan opened the room to the adjacent living area. The new kitchen is sunny, with glass-front doors to counter the lack of natural light. White custom cabinetry and quartz countertops looks similar to marble, without the high price tag or costly maintenance. A sturdy island has plenty of room for cooking, entertaining, and homework.
Charming Farmhouse Kitchen: Before
This cramped kitchen didn't work for Ashley Putnam and her husband, but they didn’t want to add additional square feet to their home’s overall floor plan.